The push to attach two missing vouchers used to pay millions of shillings to a little-known family in the National Youth Service (NYS) theft trial has sparked a row between the prosecution and defence.
The vouchers, which went missing during investigations, are among documents that prosecutors now want to use as evidence in the trial of 35 individuals as they seek to prove that Catherine Wanjiku Mwai, Lucy Ngirita, Anne Ngirita, Phyllis Ngirita and Jeremiah Ngirita received Sh918 million though they had not supplied anything to NYS.
The defence Tuesday objected to the use of the vouchers, bank statements belonging Ms Phyllis Ngirita, arguing they should have been included at the start of trial or declared missing at the onset. The defence lawyers including Stephen Ligunya, Migos Ogamba and Kirathe Wandugi said the fresh evidence cannot be introduced at this stage because it would amount “to trial by ambush”.
Mr Wandugi told chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti that the prosecution would be using the court to tie the loose ends in their case if the introduction of the evidence is allowed.
“The court should not permit the DPP to use disclosure at his convenience because this would amount to abuse of due process. By allowing the said evidence, the consequence will be to deprive the accused persons of a fair trial,” Mr Wandugi said.
The Director of Public Prosecutions reckons the lost documents are crucial to its push for a conviction of the 35 individuals.
The bank details Phyllis Ngirita’s transactions between August 13, 2016 and April 20, 2018, specimen signatures and two statements from KCB officials in Gilgil and Naivasha. She is accused of receiving Sh50 million for goods allegedly not supplied.
The two payment vouchers were misplaced during document examination while the bank statements detailing payments were left out as an oversight, reckons the DPP
In the trial that the DPP’s office wants to file the documents, the Ngiritas have been charged with the theft, alongside ex-Public Service and Youth Principal Secretary Lillian Omollo, former NYS director-general Richard Ndubai and 28 other senior and junior former NYS employees.
Prosecutors believe that senior and junior employees colluded to forge entries showing that Ngirita-owned firms had supplied goods. The payment would then be approved by senior NYS officials and finally by Ms Omollo.